Some types of eviction actions are moving forward in Maryland. Existing eviction judgments may still be executed by the Sheriff. Eviction cases designated as “emergency” cases by the Court may still be heard. Otherwise, new eviction cases are not being heard until on or after January 16, 2021. If you had an eviction case hearing scheduled prior to January 16, you should receive a notice from the Court with a new hearing date. Check the Court’s website for updates: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusupdate
The CDC has provided an eviction defense for some renters through Dec. 31, 2020. Please find more information about this CDC Order in our frequently asked questions , which is based on information known to the Public Justice Center as it may apply in Maryland at this time. Anyone faced with eviction should seek legal advice and not rely on this information. Legal services providers are available in Baltimore City and throughout the state.
Also, the Governor has ordered that renters may have a defense related to COVID-19 in certain eviction actions for the duration of the emergency. Seek legal advice about whether your case is covered by these laws.
For financial assistance in Baltimore City to avoid eviction, please call 211 and the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership (CAP), 410-545-0900, www.bmorechildren.com/eviction-prevention.
If you are a tenant and a victim of an illegal lockout or illegal eviction in Baltimore City during this crisis please visit the Court Commissioner’s office to press criminal charges:
Baltimore City District Court Commissioner
500 N. Calvert Suite 200
Baltimore MD 21201
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Some types of eviction actions are moving forward in Maryland. Existing eviction judgments may still be executed by the Sheriff. Eviction cases designated as “emergency” cases by the Court may still be heard. Otherwise, new eviction cases are not being heard until on or after January 16, 2021. If you had an eviction case hearing scheduled prior to Jan. 16, you should receive a notice from the Court with a new hearing date. Check the Court’s website for updates: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusupdate
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an Order giving some renters a defense in certain eviction actions through December 31, 2020. See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Also, the Governor has ordered that tenants may have a defense related to COVID-19 in certain eviction actions for the duration of the emergency. Seek legal advice about whether your case is covered by these laws.
Some local jurisdictions like Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Howard County have passed laws banning late fees during the pandemic. Some have also banned rent increases or limited rent increases. Seek legal advice if you are unsure whether your landlord can charge late fees or raise the rent.
You may want to send a letter or email to your landlord explaining why you cannot pay rent due to a job loss or illness. You may be able to enter into a payment plan. The landlord may agree not to evict you if you stay on the plan. You should get any agreement in writing and keep a copy of any letter or email.
The CDC Order requires you to send your landlord a “declaration” if you can’t pay the rent and want to avoid certain evictions. See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
For financial assistance to avoid eviction, please call 211 and the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership (CAP), 410-545-0900, www.bmorechildren.com/eviction-prevention. A number of jurisdictions have rental assistance programs or plan to start those programs soon.
If a landlord tries to evict you without a court order and the presence of the Sheriff/Constable or denies you essential services (water, electric, gas), that is illegal. If your landlord attempts to evict you this way, call 911 and ask for police assistance. If you are illegally evicted, you should seek legal assistance and consider filing a complaint in court against your landlord. Because the courts are only hearing emergency cases, the complaint should be filed as an emergency matter if you are trying to get back into the property. You should keep track of any expenses, including hotel bills and lost property. In Baltimore City, you may also press criminal charges against the landlord by filing a complaint with the District Court Commissioner: District Court Commissioner, 500 North Calvert St. #200, Baltimore MD 21202, phone: 410-767-5774.
You should communicate with your landlord about the problem repeatedly in writing (letter by certified mail, email, text) and keep copies. You may request a housing inspection from your local government. Many inspectors, though, are operating on a limited basis (in Baltimore City, call 311). If your landlord fails to fix the problem, you may file a complaint for rent escrow. You would then place your rent into a special escrow account with the court until the landlord makes the repairs. If you have an open rent escrow case at this time, seek legal advice. Please know that because of court and inspection delays, rent escrow cases may move more slowly at this time.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has encouraged landlords in subsidized housing to conduct remote meetings (phone calls) about income changes. HUD has also encouraged landlords to delay income recertification if you have limited or no phone service or if fear of exposure to COVID-19 prevents you from gathering materials to document income or signing the recertification. If you have a reduction in income, then you should email, text or leave a note for your landlord to report your reduction in income. If you have a Section 8 voucher, you should contact the housing authority by phone or email to report any loss of income as soon as possible.
Apartment complexes can take steps to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This includes screening visitors, limiting visitors, closing common areas, limiting gatherings in common areas, and cleaning touch-points such as elevator buttons, entry doors, and other features of the building.
Yes. You should continue to receive any in-home support or services you need, like a nursing aide, meal delivery, cleaning service, case management, etc. But landlords may limit visitors to only those that are “essential.” What is essential is based on an individual’s needs, not the landlord’s discretion. Your landlord may ask visitors a couple of questions before being allowed to enter the building.
Yes. All fair housing laws remain in effect during the COVID-19 crisis.